A Clean Energy Bank? U.S. House of Representatives Passes Landmark Legislation

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A Clean Energy Bank? U.S. House of Representatives Passes Landmark Legislation

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed the American Clean Energy & Security Act of 2009 by a vote of 219-212. Among many things, the bill establishes two solar priorities for SEMI: a renewable portfolio standard and a clean energy bank.

Throughout the year, SEMI met with Members of Congress who were directly involved with the development of this landmark legislation. A highlight was during the SEMI Washington Forum, industry executives met with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Waxman’s staff. As a result, we successfully averted a potentially harmful cap-and-trade provision that would control the use of fluorinated greenhouse gas emissions through an upstream approach (at the gas production or importation source).

The renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requires electric utilities to meet 20% of their electricity demand through renewable energy sources and energy efficiency by 2020, up to a quarter of the RPS requirement can come from energy efficiency improvements. Furthermore, it requires that the Federal government must purchase 6% renewable energy by 2012, increasing to 20% by 2020 for its energy needs.

The “clean energy bank” will be known as the Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA). CEDA will aid the domestic development and deployment of renewable technologies including solar by providing financing options including: direct loans, loan guarantees, and letters of credit.

Other key provisions contained in the bill:

  • Invests $190 billion in new clean energy technologies and energy efficiency, including energy efficiency and renewable energy ($90 billion in new investments by 2025), carbon capture and sequestration ($60 billion), electric and other advanced technology vehicles ($20 billion), and basic scientific research and development ($20 billion).
  • Mandates new energy-saving standards for buildings, appliances, and industry.
  • Reduces carbon emissions from major U.S. sources by 17% by 2020 and over 80% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels through a controversial cap-and-trade system. Complementary measures in the legislation, such as investments in preventing tropical deforestation, will achieve significant additional reductions in carbon emissions.

Now the focus is on the Senate. The Senate is expected to start debating their bill after they return from the Fourth of July recess. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has set a deadline of September 18 for all committees to complete their portions of the bill. These committees include: Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources, Environment and Public Works, and Finance and Foreign Relations. SEMI will work with many of the Senators on the above mentioned committees regarding issues that will affect our members.

On October 1, SEMI is holding a solar energy lobby day to address the key issues of the energy bill. We encourage our solar energy member companies to participate in this lobbying event.

For more information on H.R. 2454, “The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009,” please visit:


For more information on the Senate bill, please visit:


Posted: July 2, 2009